The Google Nexus 7 is arguably the best tablet in the Mountain View companies range. It isn’t bad when comparing it against just about anything that runs Android because it’s always at the top of the list when it comes to Google software updates.
We are now seeing the first batch of Android 5.1 OTA updates rolling out for the Google Nexus 7 with the build number LMY47D. If you are running that firmware build already, you can follow the guide below to open up the system internals with root access. Only then can you start installing custom ROMs.
What Is Rooting the Android Operating System?
When you buy a new smartphone, you might not know it, but the Android operating system is in a “locked” state. For the most part, it will not make much difference to you: most apps are still available to use, and there are benefits to this locked state such as better security. When you root the Android operating system, you are gaining full administrative rights over the OS.
Why Would You Want to Root Android?
Gaining full administrative rights over the operating system has some perks to some people. For example, out of the millions of applications available on Google Play, some of them will not be able to run on your device unless it has root access. Until you have a specific need for wanting Android rooted, you probably want to leave Android as it comes out of the box. But if you need to unlock an app, then that is when you want to look into rooting methods. Using more apps is only one example of why you may want root access, here is the full list of benefits:
- Unlock more applications. Some of the apps available for Android cannot run unless you have root access. This is because the app’s features cannot run without the root permissions because the features require the full system access before they can be useful.
- Better battery life. Smartphones are great, but they have one caveat, which is each time you recharge the battery, it loses some of its overall lifespan. That means smartphones, in general, do not make great investments, and if your weekly paycheck is low, you will want to limit the number of smartphones you go through. One of the ways you can do that is by removing bloatware and creating a better battery life.
- Bolster performance. If you are the budget-conscious shopper, you may want to increase the device’s performance. This can be done by removing the bloatware as well. The more processes you have running, the more memory that is used. By removing some of the apps, it can help lighten the load on your hardware.
- Customize Android with themes. With root access, you can download and install any theme that’s at your disposal. That includes any customized theme you can find.
What Are the Risks of Rooting?
If you are buying a smartphone that is not running iOS, then it is probably the Android operating system that you want running as the ideal software to pair with your shiny new hardware. It is, in fact, the Android OS that offers you the chance to customize the OS considerably more than iOS: custom themes, run any app you know about, the works. For many users, the “openness” of an operating system is important, because it offers them more freedom which means running into fewer problems with their investments. But there is a reason iOS likes a far more locked approach: the ability to customize is not for everyone, and if you do not know what you are doing it can lead to a lot of problems which can define your time with the OS rather than freedom.
With power (full admin permissions) comes greater responsibility. Here are some of the main risk factors when it comes to rooting:
- Malware becomes a larger threat. You might read the occasional news article about how new malware is wreaking havoc in parts of the world on Android. But the Android operating system with root access becomes considerably more vulnerable to exploits because applications are no longer prisoned off in their own sandbox environments. This means if you accidentally download malware, it can do more damage because it can spread throughout the operating system and even jump into other applications and potentially view sensitive data.
- You can accidentally brick the smartphone. There is always a chance that you end up bricking the smartphone before you had the opportunity to use it with root access. That is because if you are going to brick it, it is going to happen during the rooting process.
- You may void the warranty. Most manufacturers do not allow you to root the Android operating system and still get to bring it in for repairs under warranty. Whether they are legally meant to do that or not is another question, but it is now common knowledge that most do not want to help you if they find out you have unlocked the OS with root access.
- You need to have the Nexus 7 device to use the guide. Do not try flashing the files we have below on a different device because it may soft-brick the tablet or phone.
- You should already be running the latest version of Android 5.1 Lollipop with the firmware build number LMY47D before starting the guide. Check the build number by looking at the About Device menu.
BEFORE WE BEGIN
- Install the Google Nexus USB drivers on your computer. Turn off the computer and turn it back on again to have the drivers working properly.
- You are installing the official ClockworkMod recovery during the steps. If you don’t want to do that you can skip the CWM file and just flash the SuperSU.
- We advise people back up the OS and ROM using a third-party application from the Google Play Store or use the built-in backup utility.
- The following does the void the warranty if you follow it through. You must flash the official stock Android firmware file back on the device and unroot before the warranty works again.
HOW TO ROOT THE GOOGLE NEXUS 7 RUNNING LMY47D ANDROID 5.1 LOLLIPOP AND FLASH THE CLOCKWORKMOD RECOVERY/TWRP RECOVERY
1. Download Android SDK from here.
2. Setup ADB and Fastboot on your computer using the guide from the link above.
4. Copy and paste the file over to the /platform-tools directory of the Android SDK on the computer.
5. Download SuperSU from here.
6. Plug the Nexus into the computer and transfer the SuperSu over to the internal storage SD card.
7. Boot the Nexus 7 to fastboot mode by pressing the Volume Down and Power and holding the buttons down.
8. Navigate to the /platform-tools folders and click on a blank white space and hold down Shift. Now choose to open the Command Prompt window.
9. Type the command:
fastboot flash recovery recovery-clockwork-touch-184.108.40.206-grouper.img
10. Choose the recovery option from the menu.
11. Scroll down the list until you see “flash zip from SD card” and select the same.
12. Select the “Choose zip from SD card” and search for the SuperSU file.
13. Now flash the file and wait until it finishes.
14. Navigate back to the main recovery windows and select to ‘reboot system now”.
You are all done. . . . Now you can start installing your choice of custom ROMS and root-requiring application from the Play Store and other third-party sources.